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Back Home From Home

Debuted and finalist @ The 2021 Telstra National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Art Awards (Telstra NATSIAA)

Finalist @ National Photography Prize 2022, Murray Art Museum Albury

Winner of the Aboriginal Art Prize @ Fisher’s Ghost Art Award 2023, Campbelltown Arts Centre

Back on Country in Rural NSW from his home in Sydney with a shield of cast lace fencing from ‘the block’ in hand, Kamilaroi/Gamilaraay artist Dennis Golding gestures to his family’s return home from home. Standing between his grandparent’s hometowns of Moree and Collarenebri, Golding brings a fragment of the memory of his grandfather living in the terrace homes in Sydney’s inner suburb Redfern, often referred to as ‘the block’.

In 1974, Golding’s family moved from their Country to relocate to Redfern when it emerged as an urban Aboriginal community to pursue work opportunities. His grandfather found work in the community working for the Redfern Aboriginal Corporation for 45 years. After a time, when the land in the inner city became desirable to developers, the First Nations residents were evicted and forced into displacement and Golding’s family relocated to the western and south-eastern suburbs of Sydney. This manifestation of colonial processes under the guise of gentrification led to the urban community that once assisted in the increased visibility of First Nations people now rendered them invisible once again. The spaces were whitewashed and reflected the colonial attitudes that the First Nations people were not present in the city. Many members of Golding’s and First Nations families moved back to Country and after retiring Golding’s grandfather returned too.

In 'Back Home from Home', Golding holds a white cast reproduction of a Victorian lace fence in the position of a shield. In spite of a shield being an object of protection, this shield is composed of paper clay, cast in epoxy resin and iron oxides, rendering the object fragile. Golding holds the shield with a tender embrace and does not grip or seek to shatter the fence but hold it with care and care for the home that it represents. Either side of the photograph, casts of lace fences span outwards in invitation. The fence, typically a marker of space, property and ownership extends in an embrace and welcomes rather than excludes.

This sentiment is echoed in Golding’s calm expression and stance of strength and power as he softly bends the bar from the panel. The sense of going back home from home is reflected in the softness in the materials and the subdued tones of purples and greens that emerge in the golden hour of the day as the sun sets. Surrounded by his flat Country, there is a sense of safety and comfort, he is at peace and ease in the landscape, one only felt by being back home.

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